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Mother worries about lethargic, 26-year-old son

Posted: October 4, 2011 3:48 p.m.
Updated: October 5, 2011 5:00 a.m.

Dear Annie: My 26-year-old son graduated two years ago from a terrific university. During college, he lived on his own and had a girlfriend, but just before graduation, they broke up. My son had a hard time coping, and when he graduated, he came back to live at home.

In those two years, he hasn’t applied for any jobs. When I arranged a few interviews for him, he didn’t do well. I believe he suffers from severe anxiety and gets nervous when meeting people, especially older men who tend to be the ones interviewing him.

I have begged him to get counseling, but he insists there is nothing wrong. He stays in his room all day and only comes out for dinner. His friends have moved on with their lives, and he barely speaks to any of them.

I have talked to him and even threatened to kick him out, but I can’t follow through. Where would he go? Please help me find a way to get him to face the world. -- Worried Mom

Dear Worried: Your son seems depressed and lethargic. Tell him counseling is a condition for remaining in the house. You will have to do a little enabling to start. Ask your physician for a counseling referral, call to explain the problem and make an appointment, and then be sure your son keeps it, even if that means driving him there and escorting him inside. Beyond that, however, he must take responsibility for his own recovery, which may include medication. Also look into help for yourself. You may need to follow through on your threat to toss him out, and you might need some support to do it.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at

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